According to the “The Employment Situation – May 2012” report, hiring dwindled for the third consecutive month in May, as only 69,000 jobs were added to the national economy, the lowest monthly total since June 2011. The report also found that 5.4 million Americans have now been without work for at least six months and, 8.1 million citizens were employed on a part-time basis for economic reasons, while 2.4 million Americans were marginally attached to the workforce, an increase of nearly 200,000 over the past year.
The national labor force participation rate remained lower than hoped as well, at 68.3 percent, nearly two percent lower than in June 2009 and only 0.2 percent higher than in April, a month in which the nation reported its lowest rate since the 1980s.
Despite the rise in unemployment to 8.2%, President Barack Obama continued to maintain a sense of optimism while speaking about the current state of the national economy in Minneapolis, just hours after the release of the monthly jobs report.
“The economy is growing again, but not as fast as we want it to grow,” Obama said. “We will come back stronger [though]. We do have better days ahead.”
As a sign of continued economic progress, 642,000 Americans did re-enter the labor force last month—the likely reason that the unemployment rate snuck up to 8.2%– and 422,000 more Americans were employed in May than in April. But, unfortunately, that did not improve optimism from the stock market as the Dow Jones Industrial average fell to its lowest total in 2012 on June 1st.
Three years after the official end of the Great Recession, it appears the nation’s path towards economic recovery continues to be a drawn out process with continuous ups and downs. Based on these numbers, economists are beginning to consider the idea of a jobless recovery or a new natural unemployment rate more seriously as the country moves farther from the ‘official’ end of the great recession.